Governments in Asia must further their commitment to Zero Hunger by focusing on rural poverty reduction and adapting their agricultural sectors due to the threats posed by climate change.
General José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director commented:
“Countries need to step up their efforts to bring the fight against hunger back on track”
José Graziano da Silva was speaking at the FAO’s Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Fiji.
Over the last 2 decades Asia has achieved remarkable progress in reducing undernourishment. Since 1990 the Global Hunger Index score for South Asia declined by 34% and the number of hungry people fell by 30%.
However, this has slowed in recent years, most notably within South East Asia.
For example, Bangladesh has the highest level of malnutrition in Asia and 70% of all malnourished children in the world live in Asia.
In 2016, 815 million people suffered from hunger, 60% of which live in Asia.
Despite this, General José Graziano da Silva said that the region can still achieve SDG2 ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030 if it acts quickly:
“For that it is crucial to build the resilience of rural communities, particularly family farmers, where poverty and hunger are still concentrated.
Similarly, he added that SDG 2 is not only about eradicating hunger but all forms of nutrition.
This will require additional assistance to poor farming families, fishing communities and pastoralists to allow them to adapt their production practices to protect from the threat of climate change.
In Asia, climate change will increase the severity and frequency of extreme weather; in 2017 natural disasters in Asia caused $48 billion worth of agricultural losses.
Similarly, in wheat-growing regions of South Asia production is expected to decline by 46% due to climate change.
José Graziano da Silva noted that the region’s rapid economic growth has not resulted in higher incomes for rural communities, an issue that also needs to be addressed.
If you’d like to stay informed on the latest updates in aid and development, please sign up to the AIDF newsletter.
Image credit: FAO